It seems like UPS is looking at all kinds of new-age vehicle technologies – such as e-bikes, drones – that will speed up its delivery game. And now it is interested in autonomous heavy haulers.
The company has revealed on Thursday that it has partnered with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple and has been hauling cargo back and forth between Phoenix and Tuczon, Arizona since May as a part of a newly publicized partnership.
The fleet is designed as Level 4 autonomous trucking, which means that a computer is in complete control of driving with no required manual controls. but the trucks in use still have a safety driver and an engineer on board who monitor the system. Each truck is outfitted with nine cameras as well as a pair of LiDAR sensors, that are often attached to the roofs of the self-driving vehicles to help them see.
“While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by the advances in braking and other technologies that companies like TuSimple are mastering. All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet,” said Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Scott Price in a press release.
The effort aims to cut average purchased transportation costs by 30%. by eventually removing the human occupants once the tech has been perfected.